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London ‘well and truly back on Fridays’ says City Pub Group

City Pub Group CEO Clive Watson (City Pub Group)
City Pub Group CEO Clive Watson (City Pub Group)

The boss of City Pub Group has hailed the return of the Friday night pint after the London-based chain reported a jump in revenues.

The firm, whose sites include Three Crowns on Old Street, Temple Brew House on The Strand and The Cock & Bottle in Notting Hill, said sales were up 7.8% on pre-pandemic levels in the run up to Christmas, after getting a boost from a renaissance of office parties and the unusually-timed winter World Cup.

City Pub Group CEO Clive Watson told the Standard: “We’ve certainly seen Fridays get stronger – people are coming into the office more and more, and even if you’re working from home people still like to come into the City on a Friday evening to have fun.

“Unless you’re in the pocket of the financial services sector in the Square Mile – and even that is coming back – London is well and truly back on Fridays.”

He added: “I think there’s more confidence about going out to pubs – the whole Covid thing is in the distant past [and] people need to socialise and have some fun.”

The firm also said it had seen a surge in footfall from students, and sounded an upbeat note on energy costs, which had started to subside.

But the group warned it had suffered a blow from a spate of industrial action, recording a £750k hit from rail strikes, which wiped out around 3.5% of its revenues in the fourth quarter.

Watson said: “We would have had a record week had it not been for the strikes – which also had an effect on staff bonuses and tips.”

Watson urged union bosses and government ministers to come to an agreement to end industrial action, adding: “Given all we’ve faced over the last three years we’ve got to pull together.”

City Pup Group shares climbed 1.7% to 76p.